Maxwell Sanders

Date of Birth

September 23, 1919

Date of Death

January 17, 2015

Maxwell Sanders, a Santa Barbara resident for virtually all of his life, died at age 95 on January 17, 2015 at his home in the Maravilla Senior Living Community surrounded by three generations of his family.

Macky was born in San Diego on September 23, 1919. He moved to Santa Barbara with his parents, Leo and Frances, and his older sisters, Joyce and Gladys, when he was six months old. His younger sister Phyllis was born a few years later. He attended Roosevelt Elementary School, La Cumbre Junior High School, and Santa Barbara High School.

After graduation, Macky had no idea what direction his life would take, but he knew he was willing to work hard. When WWII broke out, he decided to enlist in the US Navy, rather than be drafted into the Army. During his four years of military service, he was stationed in San Diego, New Guinea, the Philippines, and San Francisco, and he eventually became a Chief Petty Officer.

Shortly before he was shipped abroad, he met his future wife, Betty Cibull, at a dance for young Jewish men and women in Los Angeles. They embarked on a three-year, long-distance courtship, writing to each other every day that Macky was away. In June of 1945, one week after he returned from overseas, they got married in the garden of his parent’s home on Santa Barbara Street.

The newlyweds lived briefly in Oxnard, where Macky open a jewelry business. Subsequently, they purchased the Chapala Furniture House, and came back to Santa Barbara. In 1958, Macky got his real estate license, an event that marked the beginning of a long and a very successful career in the real estate investment business.

Macky worked hard, but he also had many interests.

As a boy, he was an excellent chess player as well as an avid reader. He once received a commendation by the local librarian for having read every book in the children’s library. Throughout his life, he remained a voracious reader and especially enjoyed biographies. He was fascinated with the stories of people’s lives and was himself a gifted and entertaining storyteller.

From an early age, he was an ardent animal lover. Later on in his life, he became a fine horseback rider, and for a number of years, he was a member of the Santa Barbara Trail Riders.

He and Betty took trips all over the world, and although he loved to travel, he insisted that nothing beat coming home to Santa Barbara.

He was a connoisseur of fine cuisine, especially the food of Thailand, and he continued to enjoy dishes from his favorite Thai restaurant up until a few days before he died.

He was a skilled gin rummy and bridge player.

He was proud of his Jewish heritage. Throughout their married life, he and Betty were generous supporters of Congregation B’nai B’rith, Hadassah, and the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation.
He genuinely enjoyed being with people, and he and Betty had a wide circle of friends that extended to far away places.

Macky’s main passion, however, was his family. He was a supportive father to his two children as well as an immensely proud grandfather of six and great-grandfather of seven. He and Betty were happily married for 69 years, until she died this past April. Heartbroken, he predicted that, without her, he would last no more than six more months. He was just a few months off. Macky and Betty will be reunited in the Santa Barbara Cemetery under a stone inscribed with a line from one of their all-time favorite songs, That Old Black Magic. “You’re the lover I’ve been waiting for, the mate that fate had me created for.”

Macky is survived by his daughter Trudy Reece and spouse Amy; his son Richard Sanders and wife Rosemary; his grandchildren Ethan Reece and wife Hsingyi, Naomi Anafi and husband Ron, Omri Finkel and wife Dafna, Olivia Sanders and husband Marc Steyer, Julian Sanders and fiancé Katherine Guzman, and George Sanders; as well as his seven great-grandchildren Lila, Ari, and Joshua Anafi; Levi and Rose Reece; and Maya and Shira Finkel.

Macky’s family would like to express their gratitude and appreciation for the wonderful and compassionate care that was provided by Dolores Weaver and her team–Armando Hernandez, Zulema Mendoza, Ryan Hughes, Sally Salgado, and Lauren Munoz.

For those who wish to do so, donations in Macky’s memory can be sent to the Santa Barbara Humane Society, Congregation B’nai B’rith, the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation, or Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care.

A memorial service for Macky will be held at 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 25 at Congregation B’nai B’rith, on 1000 San Antonio Creek Road. A reception will immediately follow.


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